CI Financial’s acquisition of Sentry was another one of those deals that shocked many in Canada’s investment industry. Sentry was successfully managing a lineup of over 45 mutual fund mandates and other investment solutions, with approximately $19.1 billion in assets. When announced back in August, it was revealed that the $780 million deal would increase CI's assets under management by 16% to approximately $140 billion.
Sentry’s strong portfolio management lineup and relationships across a number of advisor channels were two of the main reasons why CI pursued the acquisition, explains Steve Donald, EVP of CI Financial.
“In this industry there is an increasing requirement to invest in areas of the business like technology, governance, and support infrastructure for the portfolio management and sales teams,” Donald says. “So, scale is becoming increasingly important in this business. And putting our organizations together is going to enable us to reinvest back into our business in order to continue to enhance those areas of focus.”
The seeds of the deal were first sown back in May when CI was approached by a team representing Sentry. As CI gave the acquisition more consideration, it became clear that merging the two independent active asset managers was likely to be a recipe for success.
“We have acquired some strong capabilities across all parts of the organization, including a very strong core portfolio management lineup,” Donald says. “Our combined sales team will be among the largest in the country. Some of the other additions will help us develop areas such as technology and the whole client experience area.”
“We closed the deal in the first couple of days of October, so we feel it was done pretty quickly. The team at Sentry was tremendous and we pulled together a lot of our folks at CI to push the deal across the finish line fairly easily.”
CI intends to maintain Sentry as an independent brand under its wider lineup of portfolio managers. Donald believes the Sentry brand will form an important element of CI’s attempts to build one of the broadest and deepest lineups of portfolio managers in the country. He also feels that the deal will help boost CI’s technology presence and capability.
“It’s all about how we deal with our clients, both advisors and investors. There has been an increasing expectation around being able to interact where you want, when you want and how you want, and that is really driven through technology,” Donald says.
“The need to invest in technology is also driven by our desire to reduce any sort of administrative effort for advisors, which will help them grow their businesses more efficiently.”
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